EU Data Law Soon Goes into Effect, May Spark Privacy Debate

On May 25, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect. Although the law bans companies from forcing its users to give up personal data as a condition of service, it allows for exceptions, such as when the information is necessary to fulfill a contract. Those exceptions are the new battlefield over privacy issues, including what “freely given” consent means. At the crux is “behavioral advertising,” worth billions of dollars annually, that targets users based on their Internet activity. Continue reading EU Data Law Soon Goes into Effect, May Spark Privacy Debate

SmugMug Acquires Photo Service Flickr From Verizon’s Oath

Pioneering online photo-sharing community Flickr, created in 2004 and sold to Yahoo in 2005, has now been sold again. As first reported by USA Today, Verizon’s Oath, Flickr’s owner since 2017, just sold the company to SmugMug, a Silicon Valley photo-sharing and image-hosting service. Chief executive Don MacAskill, who founded the company with Chris MacAskill in 2002, has vowed to “move heaven and earth to thrill … photographers everywhere.” Flickr reportedly has more than 100 million unique users. Continue reading SmugMug Acquires Photo Service Flickr From Verizon’s Oath

MoviePass Acquires Moviefone, Plans Recommendation Engine

The disruptive movie subscription company MoviePass plans to build a recommendation engine to rival Rotten Tomatoes, which, say its executives, is too general and too critical for its client base. MoviePass subscribers pay a flat monthly fee to see one showing per day in participating theaters. According to MoviePass chief executive Mitch Lowe, subscribers want to be able to review movies on its site and say they would prefer to read reviews by fellow subscribers. MoviePass is also buying Moviefone from its owner, Verizon Communications’ Oath. Continue reading MoviePass Acquires Moviefone, Plans Recommendation Engine

Brands Face the Challenges, Promises of AR/VR Experiences

Industry execs gathered for a CES panel to discuss the challenges brands are now facing with AR and VR. According to NorthSouth Studios chief executive Bill Newell, the most impactful events for AR in 2017 were Apple and Google’s introduction of AR development kits. But he acknowledged that convincing big brands to consider AR or VR projects is still a major challenge for the creators of those experiences. At the agency Firstborn, senior vice president business planning Gabe Garner says his company is always honest about the return on investment, which won’t match up with traditional media. Continue reading Brands Face the Challenges, Promises of AR/VR Experiences

Security Update: 3 Billion Yahoo Accounts Hit in 2013 Attack

Yahoo announced yesterday that all 3 billion of its user accounts were affected by a previously disclosed August 2013 cyberattack, originally reported by the company as affecting 1 billion accounts. Yahoo had earlier reported that a separate 2014 attack affected 500 million accounts. Last year we learned that, “digital thieves made off with names, birth dates, phone numbers and passwords of users that were encrypted with security that was easy to crack,” according to The New York Times. “The intruders also obtained the security questions and backup email addresses used to reset lost passwords.” Continue reading Security Update: 3 Billion Yahoo Accounts Hit in 2013 Attack

Ad Trade Group Launches New Tool to Blacklist Piracy Apps

Trustworthy Accountability Group (TAG), an advertising industry alliance, has introduced a tool that will track apps promoting piracy, to alert advertisers not to run ads on such apps. The blacklist, which currently lists 8,000 violators, will be continuously updated with mobile apps that enable dissemination of pirated content, including music, movies, TV shows and games. TAG members and other organizations will help with the continual update. The MPAA and the Recording Industry Association of America both support TAG’s effort. Continue reading Ad Trade Group Launches New Tool to Blacklist Piracy Apps

Verizon Merges Yahoo, AOL Into Oath, With 1.3 Billion Users

Verizon completed its $4.48 billion purchase of Yahoo’s Internet business, which it will combine with Internet pioneer AOL. The two merged companies form Oath, a new division led by AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong that will serve about 1.3 billion monthly users. Verizon executive Marni Walden says the strategy is to place the same content in multiple locales to reach the biggest audience possible. “There is a tremendous opportunity to increase viewership of some of these brands,” she said.  Continue reading Verizon Merges Yahoo, AOL Into Oath, With 1.3 Billion Users

Verizon May Use Yahoo-AOL to Test New OTT Video Service

Verizon’s $4.5 billion acquisition of Yahoo’s Internet business is likely to close in mid-June, at which point the combination of Yahoo and AOL (with its 1.3 billion users) could serve as the “platform … to test out an over-the-top service,” according to Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam. The OTT offering “would be in addition to the telco’s go90 ad-supported mobile video service,” reports Variety. “Verizon has reportedly been mulling an Internet-delivered skinny bundle offering, akin to AT&T’s DirecTV Now and Dish Network’s Sling TV.” Continue reading Verizon May Use Yahoo-AOL to Test New OTT Video Service

Verizon to Integrate AOL, Yahoo Into New Unit Dubbed Oath

AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong tweeted that Verizon is combining AOL and Yahoo into a new unit called Oath. Sources say that Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer will not be part of the new company, which will be helmed by Armstrong. Given Yahoo’s hacking disasters and slumping business, Mayer’s departure was anticipated, but it is not clear whether she’ll receive her full payout, reportedly worth tens of millions. Sources also say Armstrong is now choosing which top Yahoo executives to retain. Continue reading Verizon to Integrate AOL, Yahoo Into New Unit Dubbed Oath